Mind Connect: What we do | Depaulcharity

Mind Connect: What we do | Depaulcharity

Depaul helps people who are homeless, vulnerable and disadvantaged.

Mind Connect: What we do

By Laura Alonso Mira - 6 November 2018


As well as accommodation and support to young people at risk of homelessness, Depaul UK also offers a range of other services. These tackle particular areas that young people might find difficult, like money management, family relationships and mental health. Alone in London volunteer Laura Alonso Mira writes about the Mind Connect service and how it helps the young people we work with.

Mind Connect is a free counselling service for people aged between 12 and 25. The service is open to all irrespective of race, gender, ethnicity, background, religion or sexuality. We currently have venues in Southwark, Lambeth, Islington and Greenwich but we are working on expanding the service to cover every London borough.

I’m a qualified integrative counsellor who works with both young people and adults – so I have a very specific volunteering role. I find it truly inspiring and rewarding to witness young people’s process of growth.

Adolescence and young adulthood are challenging life stages. We experience numerous psychological and physical changes and we are introduced into the “adult world”. Having a private space where they can focus on themselves can be incredibly valuable when facing difficulties. At Depaul UK, we often work with young people who lack a solid support structure that they can rely on when going through transitions and difficulties. Many of them come from families who are going through a lot of hardship. Many of them are homeless. Having one hour a week of dedicated time in a safe space, where they feel valued and seen can be an empowering and changing experience.

Counselling offers a safe, confidential and supportive space that can help young people explore their problems and gain insight into their feelings, thoughts and behaviour. As a counsellor, our role is to help young people identify and understand more clearly their difficulties and help them in making choices and changes which feel right for them so that they can achieve their full potential.

Some of the difficulties that counselling can help with include:

  • Feeling down, stressed, low or anxious
  • Coming to terms with bereavement, relationship breakdown, or loss of any type
  • Dealing with anger, frustration, or when feelings are “out of control”
  • Problem solving skills and understanding things differently
  • Moving forward if feeling stuck or lacking direction
  • Developing resilience and healthier coping strategies

Counselling a young person is always a unique journey. Along the way you can often find some rocky roads, but the end result is worth it! I’m humbled by some of the stories I hear, which put into perspective what is important in life and also remind me of the human capacity for growth and change.

I have met some amazing people through this work and they have taught me some valuable lessons. In a way, it gives my life a sense of purpose and meaning.

However, is important to bear in mind that although you can have a positive impact in a young person’s life, the hard work is done by them. You merely walk beside them. Apart from the experience in itself, I have always been fascinated by the field of psychology and curious about internal and interpersonal dynamics so my sense of curiosity and eagerness to continue learning keeps me going.

Interested in volunteering with the Mind Connect team? Get in touch at alsmindconnect@depaulcharity.org.uk

We’re also on the lookout for confidential rooms in London where counselling can take place. If your organisation could help we’d love to hear from you.

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